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Navigating the System


Need help navigating the mental health system?

Contact your local NAMI affiliate! If there is no local affiliate in your area or you have not received a timely response, please contact NAMI Wisconsin

NAMI Wisconsin and our affiliates provide information, referrals and support on wide-ranging issues. We are happy to talk with anyone affected by mental illness.

To learn more about the specific ways in which NAMI Wisconsin and our affiliates can help (and some of our limitations), please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

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NAMI Is Not Equipped To Handle Crisis Calls. If You Are You In Crisis And Need Immediate Help, Please Call 911.

Navigating the mental health system can be an unbelievably exhausting, frustrating process. When you or your family is already dealing with major challenges, finding the energy to make phone calls or fill out paperwork can feel impossible. It is really common to not know exactly what your question is. Knowing how stressful this can be, we strive to truly listen with empathy and without judgment. We do our best to help you gain perspective on the situation and connect you to the right resources.
— Crystal Hester, Advocacy Coordinator, NAMI Wisconsin

NAMI Wisconsin Navigating the Experience Guide Cover Image


Navigating the Experience: A guide for people living with mental illness and their families provides an overview of available resources and practical advice for difficult situations and relationships.

To receive hard copies of this guide, please fill out an order form (No charge for up to 3 copies). The guide is also available electronically below.


Click here to download the full version of Navigating the Experience.

Or download individual sections below.



1. Introduction

2. Mental Illness
(Full Section)

3. Taking The First Step

4. Mental Health Services (Full Section) 

5. Working With Providers: Tips For People Living With Mental Illness & Their Families

6. Hope And Recovery (Full Section)

7. Mental Health Crisis (Full Section)

8. Healthy Relationships (Full Section)

9. Resources For Legal Issues

10. Self-Advocacy In The Workplace

11. Resources For Criminal Justice Issues

12. Advocate For Change!

13. Sample Documents

14. Resource Directory